Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
I can’t put my finger on it, but between the amazing photographs and the use of the Internet as a soundboard for both sides, the popular protest in Ukraine feels different than previous ones. Is this the new reality of 21st century conflicts when the Internet connections remain unblocked?
Tentative agreement reached overnight as announced by the government:
- Early presidential elections - A return to the 2004 Constitution - The formation of a government of national unity. pic.twitter.com/vmEdDQeyFF
— Glenn Kates (@gkates) February 21, 2014
And of course, there are fascinating mediated public diplomacy implications to this. A quick click over to RT, Russia’s international broadcasting arm, and you can see how the situation is being framed by those sympathetic with the government.
Violence escalated on Tuesday after a group of radicals taking part in a “peaceful march” of the opposition attempted to storm the building of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada). They were repelled by police cordons. The move came despite the agreement on amnesty finally reached between the government and the opposition. [RT]
Then there are the tweets:
#Kiev‘s main square: before and after pic pic.twitter.com/ra0slTjbqq
— Amie Ferris-Rotman (@Amie_FR) February 19, 2014
Reuters: Russia’s $2bn in emergency aid to Ukraine has been held up for “technical reasons.” Here, a visualization: pic.twitter.com/X59VkK3PJJ
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 19, 2014
Ukrainian man on a date in a bulletproof best, via @SergeyPonomarev pic.twitter.com/GWF0eSHo5Y
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 20, 2014
“apocalypsticle”=<coffee spew> MT @sarahkendzior #Ukraine, #euromaidan and the media obsession with “disaster porn.” http://t.co/RRZmrds6ja
— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) February 20, 2014
I like that Twiplomacy is collecting exchanges like this one between Carl Bildt, Toomas Hendrik Ilves and MFA Russia. Fiesty.
A day full of thuggery and thuggishness all around. Not surprised, to be honest.
— toomas hendrik ilves (@IlvesToomas) February 20, 2014
It would be wiser not to spread false information, aggravating the crisis in Ukraine @IlvesToomas
— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) February 20, 2014
The former director of the Voice of America gives context to the role of press freedom and public diplomacy in Ukraine.
In mid-2005 I went back to Kiev. The new government was now eager to get programs from VOA, which could help show their newly liberated journalists how journalism should be practiced. But my most interesting meeting was with several members of Parliament who peppered me with questions about freedom of the press, and how it works. They didn’t have any experience in that area, and they wanted Ukraine to get it right. Should journalists be licensed? Can they print whatever they want? What happens when a story is wrong? Can anyone own a newspaper? [Public Diplomacy Council]
And let’s not forgot the other popular protest happening right now in Venezuela, and the mediated public diplomacy implications of telling that story.
Mr Maduro also lashed out against the coverage of the protests by foreign news organisations. “Enough war propaganda, I won’t accept war propaganda against Venezuela. If they don’t rectify themselves, out of Venezuela, CNN, out,” he said. A spokeswoman for the US network, only available on cable in Venezuela, told the BBC it did not have any immediate comments about Mr Maduro’s comments. Last week, the government removed Colombian TV news channel NTN24 from channels offered by Venezuelan cable operators. The government has been highly critical of international media coverage, while protesters say they are concerned with a lack of media freedom, says the BBC’s correspondent in Caracas, Irene Caselli. [BBC]
In case you missed it, check out our #DigitalDiplomacy talk at Social Media Week. http://t.co/7VPlS86GJ4 #SMWNYC pic.twitter.com/8mKOmhp0WH
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 20, 2014
Interesting talk given by Maurice Fraser concerning the European Union’s increasing use of soft power over hard power.
The third priority is to stop placing all our eggs in the “soft power” basket. Of course it is one of our strongest cards, but it doesn’t work with murderous tyrants and autocrats bent on genocide. Soft power is splendid, and there are always ways to fine-tune its instruments and play our hand more cleverly in terms of trade, aid, visas, cultural exchange, EU membership and so on. But soft power is no magic wand. The fourth priority is to recognise that although “civilian power” is a crucial component of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and something Europeans do very well on the whole (think of Kosovo and Georgia for starters), hard power is every bit as important. I shall come back to this. [European Council on Foreign Relations]
South Korean prime minister heads to Sochi to promote the next Olympic Winter Games as well as other bilateral issues with Russia. Curious why he waited until the final days.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won embarked on a trip to Sochi Thursday for talks with his Russian counterpart and the international Olympics committee chief to promote PyeongChang as the host for the next games, his office said. During his five-day visit to the Russian city of Sochi, Chung is scheduled to meet with International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach to explore ways to cooperate for the successful holding of the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018. [Global Post]
Great piece on U.S. public opinion and myths about Latin America. Can #publicdiplomacy solve the truth gap? http://t.co/RSOzifQbzk
— Colin Hale (@colinmarchale) February 20, 2014
Sounds like Tanzania has embraced sports diplomacy, or at a least sports-oriented nation brand: train local athletes abroad to compete better at international events in order to bring more attention to your country.
The diplomacy, which is meant to enhance capacity building amongst the sportsmen and women, will include sending local athletes to other countries and learn new tactics and improve their performance. This was said on Thursday by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Benard Membe, who insisted that it was high time local athletes also shine in international competitions. “We are now set to practice sport diplomacy and we will try to send our local athletes outside the country to learn new techniques in sports. When this is implemented as planned, we believe we will get positive results at the international stage,” he noted. [Daily News]
How social media affects diplomacy - an overview of #SMWState‘s event & take on #PublicDiplomacy http://t.co/CSy10neTpq via @dantrix88
— Nancy Groves (@Nancy_Groves) February 20, 2014
This is a decent introduction to public diplomacy 2.0 and, more specifically, Twiplomacy. It unfortunately does not take on any of the interesting implications or criticism of the field though.
Nowadays the number of official Twitter accounts is growing as well as the number of their followers. However, Twiplomacy is still developing and has, consequently, some weak points that should be taken into account. First, not every leader is connected to the net, and many of them have created an account only recently. Second, we also have to consider that this social network is not equally popular in every nation—probably this is also why many governments also use Twitter as an automated news feed from their website or Facebook page. Third, the same leaders do not agree on the nature of messages they should write—more personal or political in nature? Fourth, politicians seem not to have understood the primary tool of social networks: to connect people with each other. The more connected leader mutually follows only 44 peers. [Diplomatic Courier]
I dig Xinhua’s increasingly savvy use of Twitter.
U.S. President #Obama is reported to meet #DalaiLama, a move surely to sting Chinese government @BarackObama
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 21, 2014
photo credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images